Print 1. Experimentation: Spray printing

Spray printing over masks

My friend Nola and I spent a day exploring a different type of printing by spraying dyes through masks.  This is the first of two days looking at this technique and we started by looking at both purchased components and home-made glue gun stencils.

SPM-1The 3 lighter coloured meshes are made of laser cut cardboard and came with some of the small cut out pieces.  These will be able to be placed into some of the open areas before spraying and then moved around to create different effects (day 2 project).  The black circles are laser cut thin wood, I’m guessing plywood.  As we were using Drimarine K dyes we decided to seal these stencils first as they will just dissolve in a soggy mess otherwise.

We then moved to our glue gun stencils.  We drew our designs on paper, which we placed under a Teflon mat to use as our template.  With glue guns heated we started drawing over the lines.  There is more of a knack to this than you might think.  You have to have a permanent hot glue blob at the end of the gun and extrude a few millimetres of glue whilst holding the gun up from the surface.  That way the glue drops and lies in a neat line fairly evenly (after a few trials).  Murderous on the neck and shoulders because you need to stay very still and move the gun slowly and steadily along the template until you reach the end of a section where you can stop.  Stopping in the middle of an area usually means that a nice big glob of glue will drop when you start again and spoil the run of the line.

SPM-2We used Drimarine K dyes because Nola always keeps a supply ready mixed as she uses it frequently.  She also wanted to spray onto some fabric, whereas I was using paper as my base.

SPM-3She’s got a very good system with her dyes.  She keeps a large jar of each of her pure colours mixed ready to use.  She then decants some into smaller containers and mixes some of them with others to produce a very large colour range.  She also keeps some  in different strengths.  For our purpose, she took small amounts from this range and decanted them into good-sized atomizers.

We laid a glass sheet at an angle, placed our paper down with the glue stencil on it and started spraying.

SPM-4Having done 2 prints the stencil was nicely covered in dye which had turned to blobs on the plastic glue surface.  So we turned it over and printed the reverse side.

SPM-5It became obvious very quickly that different types of paper, and even different amounts of spray, give different results.  The middle picture was the first print and the atomiser was new so it took a bit of pumping to get it to come out evenly, so we have a few blotches and darker areas.  The right hand print had much more fine misted dye and the paper absorbed it evenly giving a smoother finish.

SPM-6We applied masks around the edge of the print area (my old discarded Hobbit House prints from OCA project 7) then sprayed lavender grey over the glue stencil.  You can see how the dye bobbles on the surface of the stencil.  This was then turned over and pressed in place to make a negative print.   These coloured papers of mine are made by using up the ink on my beautiful rollers after completing my course projects.  It breaks my heart to just wipe it off and chuck it in the bin so I run the roller over old pieces of paper and get some good backgrounds to overprint.

SPM-7Above left: printing on a kitchen hand towel I had previously rolled red onto.  Middle: Nola’s paper with a few oddments preprinted before we did a reverse stencil overlay.  Right: We cleaned the stencils onto another paper so getting the dye that slipped between the open spaces.  This created a lovely soft image.

SPM-8This medium texture water-colour paper had my orange roller cleaned on it (from the previous OCA project) and I put the plywood stencil over this and sprayed.  Because of the textural surface I’ve got a beautiful speckled effect.  Gorgeous.

SPM-9This paper is the waste Hobbit House print (other side) after having been used as an edging shield all day.  Because it had been dye soaked several times it had curled so I had to hold the cardboard mesh stencil in place, flat against the sheet.  I love the imprint of my gloved fingers.

Is that what you call recycling?  Some of these papers have been used three times over and will one day make it into a finished project.  Let’s not hold our breath for that though!!  Meantime they are added to my stash.

This is just a taste of our day but enough to whet the appetite.  Already looking forward to our second go next month.


About Claire B

I'm a passionate printmaker, paper-maker and a poor sketcher (which I'm working to improve). I've stitched from early childhood and am a perpetual student, loving learning and participating in everything creative.
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